EU is “better prepared” to face health risks in future according to new official reports

Lessons have been learnt following the COVID-19 pandemic, say two new reports commissioned by the European Union, which put preparedness against “cross-border health threats” and the state of EU health care systems under the microscope.  

The European Union is determined to not be caught off-guard by any potential future pandemics in the way it was during the COVID-19 crisis, and, to that end, recently commissioned two complementary reports into the State of Health Preparedness and the State of Health in the EU. 


The State of Health Preparedness is to become a yearly report with the purpose of mapping “EU actions taken since the pandemic to address cross-border health threats”, such as the Regulation 2022/2371 on Serious Cross-Border Threats to Health that was enacted last year and has become “the backbone of the EU’s health security architecture”.  

This initial report covers in detail the nearly €100 million of investment made in the EU4Health programme to improve “national surveillance systems” in member states as well as vaccination programmes, antimicrobial resistance, which “causes over 35,000 deaths a year in Europe”, threats from animal diseases, and the rising health impacts of climate change. 

The report, which can be found here, also includes information on the EU’s efforts to establish an “international agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response”.  


The 2023 State of Health in the EU report presents the health profiles of 29 nations and their health care systems, which are available in English here

This report’s mission is to “look at how health systems across the Union are performing, and highlight three key findings that need to be addressed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic”. These are mental health, health inequalities and the “importance of continued investment in health”.   

On the topic of mental health, the report recommends that reforms that “cover de-stigmatisation, prevention, treatment and reintegration are needed across all member states”. 

Regarding health inequalities across the EU, the report acknowledges that not all countries in the bloc are able to provide the same level and quality of care, with particular reference to cancer “as a key priority area to address”.  

One area covered by the investment section of the report is the European Health Data Space, a concept proposed by the European Commission in May 2022 that could “help to unleash the full potential of health data and empower EU citizens through better digital access and control of their health information”.


“The COVID-19 pandemic put unprecedented strain on our societies, economies and health systems,” said Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, following the release of the two reports. “Our response to it was the foundation of a strong European Health Union that is better prepared for future health crises and delivers high quality healthcare for every citizen. It is vital that we continue to regularly monitor our progress on health preparedness and building resilient health systems. The State of Health Preparedness and the State of Health in the EU reports are essential tools to do exactly that, and provide important guidance for our health policy, with the priority goal of protecting our citizens.”


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Photo source: Nguyễn Hiệp, Unsplash